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Together “Ballad of the Drover” by Henry Lawson and Judith Wright’s “South Of My Days” provide a compelling insight into outback life around the turn of the 20th Century. Both ballads capture the innate hardship of the Australian outback within its striking beauty. Wright and Lawson are two of Australia’s most noted poets and continue to resonate with audiences by engaging their audience through strong imagery and powerful use of figurative language to create an emotive tale. Lawson’s “Ballad of the Drover” and Wright’s “South Of My Days” are both narrative poems that tell contrasting stories of outback workers working differently on the land. Lawson employs the 3rd person and utilizes formal language by using powerful adjectives and imagery to represent the solitary personality of the drover. The drover has time to contemplate and take in the beauty of the landscape as he “hums a song of someone”. Personification of the land “thirsty pastures” illustrates the Drover’s intimacy with the land. Wright also utilizes the 3rd person but she uses colloquial language to engage intimately with her audience. Wright talks of multiple workers “Dan”, “Fred” and the “troopers. “Dan” is an older man with “seventy years of stories” and his “seventy years” are further enforced through the use of simile “seventy years are hived in him like old honey.” Wright further discusses the work; “Charleville to the Hunter” and “sixty head left at McIntyre” examine the work of moving cattle. “Fred” is “driving for Cobb’s” and simile “He went like a luny …… on his big black horse” because the “troopers are just behind” highlight the importance of work. Through their respective use of figurative language and their choice in language Lawson and Wright both convey stories of outback workers. Together in their respective poems Lawson and Wright both convey the hardship and challenges that living in the Australian Outback brings. Both poets demonstrate an ever...
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